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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Casteel

Building is Building

Updated: Sep 14, 2020

There's been tons of construction near our house and my son couldn't be happier about it. They left a shovel near a pile of gravel at a construction site on our block. He Three is the age of construction. When he's inside, it's train tracks, car tracks and towers for the cars and trains to knock down. When he's outside it's sand pits, mud piles and mountains of dirt. Since he started at Glenridge, I've been careful to encourage his building without tying the outcome to empty praise or commenting in ways that constrain his design. What's left is sportscasting, describing something about his work without value judgments. "You used a lot of track for your cars." "You dug a lot of small holes but made one big mountain." "How many buildings did you put in your train track?" Each of these sportscasting comments gives him an opportunity to talk more about his creation. None of these comments gives him the empty praise of "Great Job" which becomes less valuable each time you say it, while still giving him a chance to take pride in his work. None of these comments tries to constrain or name his design. The simple trick of sportscasting rather than giving empty praise or naming his creations keeps him focused on the process of creating. By making the process of creation his focus, I hope that he'll grow up wanting to create (build, paint, dance) more than he wants to consume (watch, listen, buy).

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